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        Auburn MBA, Graduate Programs, Information Technology

        A journey from Nigeria to Auburn shapes a new leader in information and technology

        April 26, 2024 By Madilyn Ford

        All News


        Lekan Afolabi at Harbert College

        Lekan Afolabi wins award for best presenter at MBA case analysis. 

        After his first interview with the Harbert College of Business’ graduate programs, there wasn’t a doubt in Lekan Afolabi's mind that Auburn was the right place for him.

        “When I looked into Auburn University, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it,” Afolabi said.

        With previous experience in the information systems and data privacy industries, Afolabi was motivated to pursue his MBA and Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) to position himself for better opportunities in these fields.

        Afolabi’s work experiences come from his undergraduate studies and the five years he spent working before beginning his concurrent degrees at Harbert. As a data privacy auditor and cybersecurity professional, Afolabi commonly found himself auditing the information systems and data privacy governance of various companies in his home country of Nigeria and consulting them on their security measures in addition to working as a business development manager for Mirene Global Consultants.

        “We live in a very interconnected world, which means businesses that provide services to us use our data every day,” said Afolabi emphasizing the importance of data security.

        In Nigeria, Afolabi studied English and literature as an undergraduate at Obafemi Awolowo University, where he additionally developed interests and skills in digital marketing, consumer psychology, information systems, and cybersecurity as extracurricular learning.

        “My undergrad was in English and literature, but I knew I wanted more,” said Afolabi.

        Upon graduation in 2017, Afolabi participated in the Compulsory National Youth Service Corps for one year, where he was sent from his home, Osun State in western Nigeria, to Plateau State located in central Nigeria. He was exposed to a new culture while serving the community and doing cybersecurity work remotely. Following his service work, Afolabi took on one of his first full-time roles as a business development manager for Career Heights, an education and professional consulting firm.

        Afolabi presents his research

        Afolabi presenting research at CLA conference.

        As a Harbert graduate student, Afolabi has worked as a teaching assistant and proctor, while conducting research and studying for the Certified Information Privacy Professional exam which he passed this month.

        Afolabi’s research focused on the United States' data economy and its privacy management in response to the Internet of Things’ (IoT) expansion of data collection and sharing, which he presented this April at the College of Liberal Arts Inclusive Excellence Conference.

        “One of the best ways to learn is by asking questions. I love asking questions,” said Afolabi, who appreciates interacting with Harbert faculty and guest speakers during class.

        Afolabi additionally appreciates the career fairs, case analyses, and business simulations organized by the college. In an MBA project for Aflac Insurance, Afolabi and his teammates delivered solutions to real problems for the company concerning policy renewal rates, where they suggested the design of a tracking system for their database. In December 2023, Afolabi’s team won the competition and Afolabi won best presenter. This project inspired Afolabi’s master’s degree project on information tracking systems for insurance firms under the supervision of Business Analytics and Information Systems Associate Professor Yen-Yao Wang, which he recently defended.

        Another benefit of his Harbert graduate education was travelling to Australia this semester as part of an international business course, which Afolabi described as amazing.

        But Afolabi has also been making his own impact on Auburn, more specifically Harbert’s Minorities in Technology club. Feeling a need for his leadership and expertise, Afolabi has taken on the role of president of this student-led organization, helping it grow and facilitating a community among Harbert minority students.

        “The Auburn community is so sweet, those little things really matter and form who you are as a person,” said Afolabi, referring to the great experience he has had in Auburn.  

        This past summer, Afolabi worked as a product marketing manager intern at Kahua in Alpharetta, Georgia. An opportunity he learned about through Harbert, Afolabi was quickly recruited by the company and strengthened his skill set through professional experience. Graduating this semester, he is eager to return to Kahua to resume the work he started during his internship while continuing to live in Auburn, a place he says he could see himself living for quite some time.

        “I’m really just grateful to the Harbert College of Business for my MBA and MSIS,” Afolabi said, “it has been a fantastic journey.”


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.